Thomas Wedders: “World’s Longest Nose”

If you’ve been on Twitter recently, you may have seen this nose. I mean, it is kind of hard to miss. Well, this nose belongs to none other than 18th century circus performer Thomas Wedders!

So, who is this guy? And why is his nose so big? Here’s a bit about the man behind the infamous nose! (And scroll to the end for our favorite reactions from Twitter!)

Whose Nose Is This?

Thomas Wedders, born Thomas Wadhouse, was an 18th century circus performer with one eye-catching act – his 7.5 inch (19 cm) long nose! To give context of length, the average size of a nose is 2 to 2.2 inches long. He lived in England during the 1770s before becoming a traveling member of a circus. He joined the ranks of other circus acts with physical conditions that labeled them as “freaks” like the Bearded Lady, the Lobster Boy, and more (Don’t worry, Hugh Jackman didn’t get a hold of him.)

Wedders was born in Yorkshire, England in 1730. And it was said that he would travel around Yorkshire to show off his nose to on-lookers. Other than that, not much is known about Thomas and his life besides his unusually sized nose. It became his personal trademark. But it is believed that he died around 1780 in Yorkshire in early 50s.

Wax figure of Thomas Wedders, at the Ripley’s Odditorium in London. Photo by Marc Hartzman.

Why Was Thomas Wedders Nose So Big?

The origins of his nasal deformity are still unknown. Some believe it’s a hypertrophy, genetic misalignment or a tumor growth. With recent internet buzz around his nose, the theories of his extremely elongated nose get crazier and crazier.

How Did People React to Thomas Wedders and His Nose?

There was a documented first-hand account of seeing Thomas. The two authors behind the 1896 book Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine witnessed Thomas showing off his nose around Yorkshire and published their observation in The Strand Magazine:

Thomas Wedders, as seen in The Strand Magazine, Vol. XI, 1896
Thomas Wedders, as seen in The Strand Magazine, Vol. XI, 1896

“Thus, if noses were ever uniformly exact in representing the importance of the individual, this worthy ought to have amassed all the money in Threadneedle Street and conquered all Europe, for this prodigious nose of his was a compound of the acquisitive with the martial. But either his chin was too weak or his brow too low, or Nature had so exhausted herself in the task of giving this prodigy a nose as to altogether forget to endow him with brains; or perhaps, the nose crowded out this latter commodity. At all events, we are told this Yorkshireman expired, nose and all, as he had lived, in a condition of mind best described as the most abject idiocy.”

Yikes, nothing worse than bad press. And obviously since there were no pictures at the time that Thomas was alive, we can only judge his nose based on people’s recollections and drawings. So it’s up to you to decide whether his nose was actually over 7 inches long or was it just an exaggeration during this time period.

The Record-Breaking Nose

But while he probably suffered socially, he did reap rewards in another aspect. Wedders’ nose helped him break world records. He received the title of  “World’s Longest Nose” from the Guinness World Records. He was featured in a May 2019 Ripley’s Believe or Not! cartoon and even has his own wax figure on display in Ripley’s Believe or Not Museum.

@ripleysbelieveitornot

We’d pick Thomas Wedders every time. 🥹 Wedders was an eighteenth-century circus performer whose claim to fame is having the world’s longest nose! At 7.5-inches long, this record-breaking nose is nothing to sneeze at! #worldrecord #incrediblepeople #wouldyoupickhim

♬ fine line – favsoundds

Here’s some of our favorite responses from Twitter! 

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